Americans aren’t great at getting out to the polls for any elections (lookin’ at you, 2016), but we really suck at showing up for midterm elections.
Seriously — The Census Bureau reported that in the 2014 congressional election, the turnout rate was only a dismal 41.9 percent.
Which is pretty scary, since who you vote for on Nov. 6 this year could impact a lot of hot-button issues, from abortion to LGBTQ+ rights to gun control and more.
In North Carolina, Nov. 6 won’t bring an election for president, governor or U.S. Senate. But what will be on the ballot:
- North Carolina General Assembly: All 120 seats in the NC House of Representatives and all 50 seats in the NC Senate are up for election this November, and almost every single one is being contested.
- U.S. House of Representatives: All North Carolinians live in one of the 13 districts that are all up for election this year.
- North Carolina Supreme Court: Democratic challenger Anita Earls faces two Republicans, the incumbent Justice Barbara Jackson as well as challenger Anglin.
- Constitutional amendments: All six amendments that legislators wanted will be on the ballot. (More from the Charlotte Observer here.)
- North Carolina Court of Appeals: There are 15 judges on this court, and three seats are up for election this year.
- Various Local Races: For Charlotte, this includes elections for Sheriff, Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor, Clerk of Superior Court and more. Full list here.
So, it’s time to get thee to a polling station. Here’s everything you need to know to vote in the 2018 midterm elections here in Charlotte.
How do I know if I’m registered to vote in North Carolina?
You can fill out this quick form to verify your voter registration status.
Note: North Carolina does NOT automatically register you to vote when you visit a government agency (for instance, if you went to the DMV to get your NC ID or changed your mailing address).
If you’ve recently moved and your address has changed, you’ll need to update your voter registration status. Ditto if you’ve changed voting parties.
How do I register to vote in North Carolina?
It only takes about two minutes to register. And bonus: you’re not going to need any additional documents, since the state will confirm your citizenship and eligibility using the license number you provide along with the last four digits of your SSN.
Just know that you will NOT be eligible to vote in North Carolina unless you’ve lived in the state for at least 30 days prior to registering to vote. Find out more about your voter eligibility here.
When is the voter registration deadline?
The voter registration deadline is this Friday, October 12 at 5 p.m.
Again, you can register online here.
However, if you miss the Oct. 12 registration deadline, you can still vote during early voting. The state allows people to register to vote for the first time (or update their voter registration) at the polls during early voting. Just note that same-day registration is NOT allowed on Election Day itself.
Where do I go to vote?
Note that this will be based on the address at which you are registered to vote.
If your address has changed since you registered, update your status before the voter registration deadline on Friday, October 12.
What do I need to bring?
If you’re registered to vote, you don’t need to bring anything with you. Voter ID is not required.
If you’re not registered yet but plan to do same-day registration at one of the early voting sites, you’ll need to fill out a form and bring proof of residence (a driver’s license, a photo ID issued by a government agency, or a copy of a utility bill or a bank statement).
If you’re a college student (and over 18 years old), you can present your college ID card along with any of the aforementioned documents proving that you live in the county.
What if I can’t make it to an official polling station on Nov. 6?
Option 1: You can vote early.
Busy on election day? Wednesday, Oct. 17 through Saturday, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., you can make your way to any of these 19 early voting locations in Mecklenburg County to cast your vote.
Option 2: You can mail in an absentee ballot.
If you’re not going to be in Mecklenburg County at ALL during the early voting period or on election day, but you’re still registered to vote here, you can submit an absentee ballot request. The absentee ballot request deadline is Tuesday, October 30 at 5 p.m.
You (the voter) or one of your near-relatives or legal guardians can simply use the State Absentee Ballot Request form to request an absentee ballot. Once you’ve completed the request form, either email it to email@example.com or deliver it in person to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections at 741 Kenilworth Ave. Ste. 202.
Once your valid request form is received, the county board of elections office will mail the voter absentee balloting materials and instructions to the address you provided. The voted ballot (contained inside of the container-return envelope) must be returned to the county board of elections no later than 5 p.m. on election day.
Where can I learn more before Election Day?
Did we miss anything? Send us an email with the subject line “Election Day.”
Photos: Charlotte Observer